Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 24, 2012.

Update #34

Code Hero April Update: Goodbyes and Codebase Soapbox

32 comments
5 likes

From the project coordinator: 

GOODBYES

Hi everyone, I'm sad to tell you that I'm leaving the project, so this will be the last update from me. I hope that I was able to provide at least a little more communication during this time, though I know a lot of questions weren't answered. I'm glad to have gotten to know some of you and I'm sorry I wasn't able to provide more of those answers. Further updates will be up to Alex to arrange. On to the update I had prepared:

CODE

Developing games for multiple OS's is a challenge under the best of circumstances and for quite a while the only computers available to develop on were Macs. That meant that a lot of functionality couldn't be tested on Windows and a lot of functionality didn't work as intended on the Windows version of the game. Now a Windows system is available to develop on, some of those disparities are being worked on.

The first priorities were the code editor hot key and the dialogue display, both key to a smoother and more accessible gaming experience.

Up till now the tilde key, used to access the code editor quickly, couldn't do its job. Now, though it needs more work, the code editor can be called up using that hot key in the Windows OS version of Code Hero. The hot key was implemented differently in several places and has been unified to work more consistently.

The dialogue text displayed along with the voiced instructions was skipping numerous lines on Windows, due to certain characters being illegal in Windows file names. With the updated file naming conventions, all the voice audio should work equally well on both platforms.

Another key area that needs to be worked on is the code itself. A big part of working with a team is building the code in such a way that other people can more easily understand and work with existing code. Inevitably in the first rush of developing a product or a feature, a lot is written - the basic skeleton, working theories, experiments, new methodology. At that time it's not productive to stop and organize everything you do. There's some structure of course, but the methodology to be used is still in flux and the underlying cohesive thrust is only in its infancy.

Once things start to settle into a pattern the excess code can be cleaned up and organized into a more readable order/structure/organization. Unfortunately, there often isn't time to do so, which can work for a while, but when teams change members, the code base becomes less maintainable and adding new features without breaking old things can become an issue. It becomes impossible to track down bugs, to fix old features, implement new ones, or to simply move forward with the project.

In between working on new code and fixing bugs, one of the things we've started working on is that process. One way to improve the situation is documenting the code - doing such things as writing comments, sometimes with special Doxygen XML-like formats, that clarify what the intention of different pieces of code are, thus the call for those interested working on code documentation. The largest script in Code Hero is NGUIMaster. It is the current focus and we're glad to say that our first foray into cleaning up its regions and documenting it is going well. It's tedious work, but hopefully it will let the team work more cohesively and more efficiently, as well as easing the entry of those who join us in the future.

Thank you everyone and, again, I’m glad to have gotten to know you.


Update #33

Code Hero March Update: Study Pics

6 comments
4 likes

From the project coordinator:

PICS TO STUDY

We can’t give you the data, but here are a few pics from a study done yesterday at a Portland public school with 22 sixth graders:

UPDATES

I’m sad to say that I’m probably not going to be able to update as regularly or as often, but even though you may not hear from us as often we’ll still be working on Code Hero and moving forward with development.

Thank you for your kind words of support and your good wishes!


Update #32

Code Hero Third February Update: Picturesque

Comment
7 likes

From the Project Coordinator:

CODE

We’re working hard to make the mission system’s internals as efficient to develop with as the brain interface user experience is for exploring the levels. We’ve rewritten the dialogue manager code to prepare it for further work.

We’re also trying to turn down the volume of the game in general, though our audio sources are somewhat scattered, so this will have to be done piecemeal as we find them.

PILOT STUDIES

We are continuing working with Pixel Arts and meanwhile have confirmed another study session with a public school in Portland. They’re very interested in technology, but currently have very little technology support. We’ll be working with their sixth grade Technology class and hope to start in early March.

Frustratingly enough, we won’t be able to tell you many details about what’s going on in the pilot studies themselves until after they’re done. That’s how it goes with this kind of research in general - information isn’t made available till all the data has been gathered and assessed. That means that even after the studies themselves are completed, the information has to be compiled and considered before we can communicate about it more specifically.

Despite that, it’s very exciting to be working towards putting what we have into observed practice and seeing what comes out of it. SCIENCE!

WEBSITE

We’re working on collecting in-game images in our efforts to build up the website. If any of you have any views you find particularly striking, use your computer’s screen capturing commands to take a picture and send them in to us at screenshots@primerlabs.com, or just tell us where in Code Hero they are. If you send us a name or nickname that you would like associated with the image, we’ll tag it with that name if we use it. If you need help figuring out how to take a screenshot with your computer, let us know and we’ll try to walk you through it. Remember that you can chat on IRC for help too.

Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement, and for celebrating our achievements with us!


Update #31

Code Hero Second February Update: Studying Progress

3 comments
10 likes

From the Project Coordinator:

TEAM

Elizabeth LaPensée (http://www.elizabethlapensee.com) has joined the team to lead research and iterative development. She holds a Ph.D. in Interactive Arts and Technology from Simon Fraser University and has eight years of experience in game development workshops for Indigenous (First Nations and Native American) youth. Dr. LaPensée also brings eight years of industry and academic experience as a game designer, writer, and researcher. She is excited about Code Hero as an out-of-the-box solution to teaching programming and providing access to Unity. She will work closely with Pixel Arts and use the results of the pilot studies to guide next steps in design.

She’s experienced, enthusiastic, and has some great insights to offer us.

CODE

Our current design discussions have focused on how to better guide the player along a path of learning and how to implement rewards and the achievement system in a way that will help guide and motivate a player through the stages of learning, giving them more feedback on their progress as they gain game-building skills. The three stages of feedback that we’re discussing targeting are granular, sustained, and cumulative feedback.

A few smaller things have been added but here’s the meat of what’s been coded: Using preexisting assets and some new code, Alex has implemented a path that the player walks along while inside that Code Hero brain you see when you get achievements. The player reaches nodes at which they are transported to different levels, each with a set of missions (as you’ve seen). Until one node has been completed, the next node can’t be reached and once a node has been completed, it can be reactivated at any time for another playthrough.

Neural Networks
Neural Networks

Thanks so much for all your support and feedback, we love to hear from you!


Update #30

Code Hero February Update: Spaceout

3 comments
2 likes

From the Project Coordinator:

Sorry guys, I completely spaced on posting yesterday. On with news.

PILOT STUDIES

Pilot studies in the last week that involved feedback from educators have helped us focus in on how Code Hero can supplement and replace curriculum in schools. We believe in reaching many spaces, including public schools, after-school programs, libraries, hackerspaces, and homes. The pilot studies are helping to inform how we can best fit in these diverse spaces. Thank you for your support and especially to Pixel Arts as we move forward with pilot studies that involve youth players in the next two weeks.

T-SHIRTS

There has been a delay with the shirts this past week. They’re still being worked on and you can still change your order and address on the survey, but unfortunately they won’t be sent out yet. We’ll try to keep you updated on progress. As we said, we didn’t want to promise dates until things were actually on their way and this is one example of why we’ve tried to keep to that.

SERVER CONCERNS

There was a comment on last week’s update posted by Aaron Burke about the user’s settings. He brought up the concern that servers aren’t always reliable. I had described the way in which settings would be saved on the servers, but had not included the information that they would also be saved on the user’s computer, so I wanted to assure you that the settings and achievements that are linked with the user’s profile will be available even when not connected to the server.

Thank you everyone for your comments and feedback, we really appreciate your support and involvement!


7,459
Backers
$170,954
pledged of $100,000 goal
0
seconds to go
  • Pledge $1 or more
    You selected

    2726 backers

    $1+ Starving Hacker Name Your Price Edition Preorder for beta access and name your price for $1 or more to save on the $31.37 full game release! You get early access to the game at your price! You help fund the development of Code Hero Code Hero Private Beta is now available in beta preorder. Buy it now to support our development and you get to download the betas and receive the full game when it ships! Buy your copy of Code Hero and be first to get it! You can now preorder Code Hero to receive the private beta and guarantee first access to new versions till the gold master game ships! What you get with the game: A game that teaches you how to make games An account on the Code Hero online community network to share your achievements and collaborate on projects with others Digital download whenever you need to. All reward levels include the benefits of the previous levels.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $13 or more
    You selected

    2896 backers

    Elite Hacker Name Your Price Edition You are an elite hacker and will receive the full game along with exclusive access to enter the mysterious in-game 1337 club for any purchase prices above $13.37.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $31 or more
    You selected

    472 backers

    Elite Hacker Preorder Editon You'll get secret in-game rewards to be announced soon for preordering the full-priced game You help fund the development of Code Hero even more by paying what its worth

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $42 or more
    You selected

    1217 backers

    Elite Collector's Edition You get the digital download AND the boxed USB version! The Collector's Edition comes on a special USB drive in a book box signed by Alex Peake and the whole developer team with a scroll full of codefoo secrets. You also get a CODE HERO T SHIRT!

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $133 or more
    You selected

    47 backers

    Elite Founding Pupil Edition Pay $100 or more to massively help fund the development of Code Hero and you'll get membership in our founding supporter's club Invitations to special events UNITYVERSITY TUITION: A one-on-one live online mentorship session with one of the developers of Code Hero for yourself or a person you gift it to.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $313 or more
    You selected

    14 backers

    Elite Hacker Founding Apprentice Edition Visit the Primer Labs HQ and meet the developer team! UNITYVERSITY TUITION: A week of daily one-on-one live mentorship sessions with the developers of Code Hero or a person you gift it to.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $1,012 or more
    You selected

    6 backers

    1 K12 Code Hero School: Give your children more than a game: Give them programming peers that will engage and inspire each other. A parent, teacher, student, administrator or entrepreneurial youth can pledge to give a school of their choosing a special school-wide Code Hero access. All their students will receive school accounts for Code Hero. Teachers will be trained by the Code Hero team to be able to mentor students who can mentor each other. Code Hero School will feature advanced metrics and collaborative gameplay that will allow teachers to integrate it into making projects for every subject and class in the school. Art classes can produce game art for history projects that become simulated historical worlds with math class showing how engineering created disruptive new industries that economics class analyzes for modern parallels [HINT HINT]. Check out http://www.HackTheFuture.org and http://www.primerlabs.com/unityversity to see how we teach large groups of kids already to make and present games on their first day. NOTE: PETITIONERS WELCOME. You can pledge at this level to petition your school to try it: Call them, ask them if they will accept it on behalf of all their students. This doesn't require a school approval process or a strategy session: It just opens the door for a new kind of education through games that kids actually want and enjoy! UNCONDITIONAL GIVING: If you can't get a school to accept, you can give it directly to the students of the school to form a Code Club to provide the power of one good example: a school where every student can code fluently and create games as group projects as easily as presentation posterboards and science fair exhibits. Every state needs at least one representative that will take up this challenge to show there is no state that is not ready to become an economic powerhouse, that there is no district that can't emulate Silicon Valley, and that there is no school that can't become a flourishing entrepreneurial hotbed of student-created startups!

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $1,337 or more
    You selected

    9 backers

    FOUNDING INTERN UNITYVERSITY TUITION: Join Primer Labs' team to be a part of Code Hero's development! Founding Apprentices get ongoing personal mentorship for yourself or a person you gift it to. You'll learn how to help create Code Hero as an intern apprentice on the Code Hero development team. You get one-on-one training to learn the ropes and master Unity game development, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to a game that changes the world. Exemplify the empowerment of becoming a game developer first-hand through your involvement in the project. PROMOTION: We'll feature any games you create on our site and help you promote your creations and kickstart your career as a game designer!

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $1,776 or more
    You selected

    0 backers Limited (51 left of 51)

    $1776: SENATOR HERO: ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE OF REVOLUTIONIZING EDUCATION FOR YOUR STATE! Every Senator or Congressman who accepts this challenge will bestow a K12 Code Hero School License for every student in every school in their state or district. Make a statement to the world that your constituents all deserve to have the power of code and that code is the key to American prosperity. Show that you are taking action to revolutionize education by making learning to code a universal part of gaining full literacy as an informed and empowered citizenry of a country that will continue to lead the 21st century! NOTE: PETITIONERS WELCOME. If you are not a Senator, you can pledge at this level to petition your representatives: Call them, ask them if they will accept it on behalf of all their voters. This doesn't require a school approval process or a strategy session: It just opens the door for a new kind of education through games that kids actually want and enjoy! If you can't get a Representative to accept, you can convert this to a 1 K 12 pledge and give it to one school in their district to provide the power of one good example: a school where every student can code fluently and create games as group projects as easily as presentation posterboards and science fair exhibits. Every state needs at least one representative that will take up this challenge to show there is no state that is not ready to become an economic powerhouse, that there is no district that can't emulate Silicon Valley, and that there is no school that can't become a flourishing entrepreneurial hotbed of student-created startups!

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $2,600 or more
    You selected

    0 backers Limited (6 left of 6)

    INTERN ON A PAX: Join the Primer Labs team as an intern AND fly with us to Penny Arcade Expo East!

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $3,133 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (29 left of 30)

    INTERN ON A PLANE: Help Build Code Hero & Celebrate in Berlin At Our December 2012 Launch Party! You will not only become an elite hacker founding apprentice entitled to personal internship training working alongside Code Hero creator Alex Peake at our headquarters, you will also get to fly the hacker skies with us and Hackers On A Plane to attend the December Chaos Communications Congress 2012 in Berlin as a member of the Primer Labs team. Celebrate the first true hacker New Year with Code Hero and Primer Labs! Berlin's New Years tradition is called Sylvester and it is utter insanity that you must experience for yourself. We'll promote your game career and put you in the game as a character and part of the story!

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $4,237 or more
    You selected

    0 backers

    INTERN ON A SHOW: We will shoot a miniseries of 3 episodes of our ongoing documentary TV show about you and your evolution from your arrival at our as a new recruit to your apotheosis as a game development master at year's end! Apprenticeship with Alex Peake + training in 3D game art, writing and game design to make you an all-around game development superhero.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $10,000 or more
    You selected

    2 backers

    A CUSTOM GAME SCENARIO OF YOUR CREATION: Elite Founding Funder You become a Code Hero character in the game who can teach millions of players in a custom game challenge designed with you as a part of our team. This is the ultimate interactive advertisement and soapbox for whatever you want to teach people about. If you want to join Code Hero's intern team or sponsor someone, turn your dollars into millions of minds transformed by funding Code Hero's development!

    Estimated delivery:
Featured!
Funding period

- (60 days)